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COVID-19 facts and myths, explained


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Yes, there are vaccines now available for COVID-19. In Alabama, the vaccine is only available to select high-risk groups including elderly individuals, high-risk health care professionals and first-responders. These groups are subject to change, so check our latest vaccine coverage for more information about when you might qualify to receive a vaccine.

Yes, the vaccine is safe. Read more about myths and viral falsehoods related to the vaccine in this post from UAB.

No! This image has been circulating on social media. It claims that Coronavirus can be prevented by gargling salt water or vinegar water. Gargling saltwater or vinegar will not prevent COVID-19 infection.


The best way to prevent COVID-19 is to avoid contact with symptomatic individuals or those who may have been exposed. Many people may be infected but not show symptoms. You should wear a mask when you leave your home.


Gargling some combination of warm water, salt, and vinegar can be used as a means of relieving symptoms related to colds and flus. But there is no evidence that it can help ward off or drive out infections of coronavirus. Read more from Snopes.

No! Do not gargle bleach. Bleach is corrosive and could seriously harm you if you put it anywhere in or on your body. It also does nothing to prevent infection. It can be useful to disinfect surfaces if diluted. Gargling alcohol is also not effective at preventing infection. Alcohol, however, can also be used to clean surfaces.

The World Health Organization advises that COVID-19 virus can still be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates. From the evidence so far, the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in ALL AREAS, including areas with hot and humid weather.


Regardless of climate, adopt protective measures if you live in, or travel to an area reporting COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently washing your hands, avoiding large gatherings and wearing a mask when you leave your home.

No, taking a hot bath does not prevent new infections. Your normal body temperature remains the same, regardless of the temperature of your bath or shower.

Taking a hot bath with extremely hot water can actually be harmful, as it can burn you.

To date there has been no information nor evidence to suggest that the new coronavirus is transmitted by mosquitoes. The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose, according to the World Health Organization.

No! Just don’t do that. Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body, according to the World Health Organization. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth). Be aware that both alcohol and chlorine can be useful to disinfect surfaces, but they need to be used under appropriate recommendations.

No! There is no vaccine currently available to prevent COVID-19 infections. COVID-19 is a totally different virus from the seasonal flu. A flu vaccine will not prevent COVID-19 infection. However, you should still get a flu vaccine to prevent influenza infection.


Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not provide protection against the new coronavirus.


The virus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine.

No! According to the WHO, there is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected people from infection with the new coronavirus. There is some limited evidence that regularly rinsing nose with saline can help people recover more quickly from the common cold. However, regularly rinsing the nose has not been shown to prevent respiratory infections. 

No! Garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties. However, there is no evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from the new coronavirus, according to the WHO.

Yes! Washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds is the mainstay recommendations for preventing coronavirus infection — and any infection. Also, you should avoid touching your face, eyes and nose, and avoid contact with those who have been exposed to the virus, have recently returned from a hot spot of infections or who are exhibiting symptoms of an upper respiratory infection like the Flu, a cold or COVID-19. Symptoms include fever, dry cough and difficulty breathing. Wear a mask when you leave your home.

No. Early on, there were claims circulating on social media that Black people and African-Americans are immune to coronavirus. There is simply no evidence this is the case. In fact, Black Americans have been disproportionately affected by the virus. In Alabama, Black people are dying at disproportionate rates.


This is a dangerous claim to make even as a joke because it builds on a long history of racist pseudoscience and furthers the belief that there are biological differences between Black people and white people, which is not true. Such claims have been used to perpetuate discrimination, racism and slavery in the past.

People of all ages can be infected. Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus. WHO advises people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus, for example by following good hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene.


Young people should also be mindful that they can transmit the illness to their loved ones, like parents and grandparents, even if you are not symptomatic. Just because you are young and healthy doesn’t mean you may not be affected somehow.